I loved the Olympics, but even though it’s only Day 1, I think I might love the Paralympics even more! The track cycling started today, and it was exhilarating! To celebrate, here are some of the Paralympic cyclists I follow, who have great social media
Alex Green – Australia
I always love Alex Green’s blog for her photos and stories of her life on the bike, and off it as well. Recently it’s given this happy, excited view of Britain, as she’s travelled around the country before heading to London… where she won a bronze in the C4 pursuit, behind her fellow-Australian Susan Powell and the USA’s Megan Fisher. I’m really happy for her, and if you read her blog, you will be too!
Green’s bronze medal will join her World Champion’s rainbow jersey, after she won the C4 Pursuit in the 2012 Para-cycling World Championships – which sounds even better, when you realise she only started racing in 2010! AND that she combines it with studying mechanical engineering at uni in her time off! She’s got three more events to come, too – the C4-C5 500m ITT on the track on Saturday, and the C4 ITT and the C4-5 Road Race next week. She’s bound to be sharing everything on her blog and twitter, where she’s @Alex_A_Green
Sarah Storey – Great Britain
Sarah Storey is a British superstar, who started the ball rolling for Team GB winning the first British gold of the 2012 Games, in the C5 Pursuit. This is her fifth Paralympic Games – she started in 1992 in Barcelona, aged just 14, where she competed as a swimmer, and won two golds, three silvers and a bronze. She won three golds, a silver and a bronze in Atlanta, and two silvers and a bronze in Athens – and then persistent ear infections cut short her career in the pool. She didn’t give up – instead she turned to cycling, where she was just as strong – she won two gold in Beijing, and has just got stronger. She also races on the road, against able-bodied riders, and this year she won a stage at the Bedford Two Day, the GC of the Essex Giro, and came 9th in the GC at the Tour of Limousin. She’s super-strong, and you can follow her through her Paralympics on her twitter, @MrsSarahStorey, and via her website.
Greta Neimanas – USA
Another rider in the C5 category, who also races able-bodied riders on the road, riding for Exergy TWENTY12, is the USA’s Greta Neimanas. Neimanas’ blog gives a real insight into her life and feelings, and it can be powerful stuff. Recently she was blogging about how it was to race at the Beijing Games in the aftermath of her father’s death, and what she’s learned since then – but her blog is also full of race reports (with video!) and snippets of her everyday life. And you have to love a rider who’s facts about herself on her website look like this, even if she’s wrong, and blueberries are best eaten with icecream! She’s just 24,
Neimanas came 7th in the C5 Pursuit today, and she’ll be racing the C4-5 5oom, the C5 Road ITT and the C4-5 Road Race. She’s also on twitter, at @gretaneimanas – and there’s a nice interview with her on ESPN-w from November.
Joleen Hakker – the Netherlands
We all know the Dutch women are the best cyclists in the world, so it’s no surprise to find them in the Paralympics as well. Joleen Hakker is competing in the cycling, in the B category tandem road race and time trail (for blind and visually impaired cyclists) but this is just one of her sports. She started as a rower, competing in Beijing, and also competes in cross-country skiing, then moved to triathlon, where she became European Champion in her class in 2009 – and then, when she focused on cycling, became World Champion in the Time Trial in 2010.
All this, and she has a Tumblr too! The Paralympic updates come from Adze, rather than Joleen, but the rest are all her – and there are lots of links on there to articles, videos and more – in true Tumblr fashion, click the headings to jump to the off-site info. You’ll especially like her blogs on the Bartiméus Sonneheerdt site… It’s in Dutch, but if you (like me) can understand words like “wielerploeg”, but not much more, then fire up google translate, it does a great job!
If you want to know more about the Paralympic Cycling, the schedule and other information is on the Paralympics site for the track (30th August – 2nd September) and the Road (5th – 8th September)- but I really love the way the UK’s Channel 4 is covering the Games. Follow that link for everything you need to tell you all about the Games and the sports – their cycling coverage is here for the track – their 60-second video guide to track cycling is slick and simple – and here for the road.
And, as always, if you have any Paralympic cyclists you follow, recommend them to me in the comments, or tweet me at @_pigeons_!